Right to the wire, two of the key contenders go toe to toe in Barcelona, with Fernandez just beating Dixon to third.
Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) vs Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) is one of the battles of the season in the standings, and in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya the two went head to head on track once again. In a stunning race to the line, it was just 0.081 between the two as Vietti pipped the home hero after a last lap lunge. The fight for third went to the wire too, with Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking the final step on the podium after a final sector move on Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team).
Dixon took the holeshot but the early race leader was Mugello podium finisher Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), with the American streaking away and only increasing his gap as a group fight for second raged in his wake. But it came to an early heartbreaking end for the American as he slid out from the lead mid-race, leaving that multi-rider fight for the podium as the multi-rider fight for the win.
First it was Canet vs Dixon, then Vietti got past the Brit and the top two in the Championship were just about able to carve out some breathing space. This was it, Vietti vs Canet, all the way to the flag.
Onto the final lap it was the Italian ahead over the line, but Canet attacked at Turn 1 and took over in front. Still, the VR46 rider stalked his prey and chose a late move at Turn 10, slicing through to take over and then shutting every door. Out of the final corner Canet tried to find space around the outside but couldn’t quite make the attack, with the two then tucked in to the line and Vietti just taking it by 0.081. Another win and some more points for the Italian at the top of the table, but still another impressive bounce back and podium for Canet.
Fernandez also had his work cut out, the Spaniard moving through from a bit further back to get into that fight at the front, make his way to the fight for the podium and then swoop past Dixon late on.
Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) had another impressive Sunday as the German took fifth, having fought in the group alongside Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) before the latter duo both crashed out with three to go. Mugello winner Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a slightly tougher weekend in Barcelona as he took sixth, beating Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) to the line by just 0.022.
Alonso Lopez’s (Lightech Speed Up) impressive arrival to the World Championship continued in eighth, with the Spaniard less than a second behind Ogura. Manuel Gonzalez (VR46 Master Camp Team) took a top ten in P9, with Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) tenth and after an early Long Lap penalty for a shortcut.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Italtrans Racing Team), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team), Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP 40) and Fermin Aldeguer (Lightech Speed Up) completed the points.
We headed in with Vietti and Ogura equal on points and we leave for the Sachsenring with the Italian extending his lead and Canet taking back over in second. What awaits in Germany? We’ll find out in two weeks!
1 Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – Kalex – 38’42.958
2 Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) – Kalex – +0.081
3 Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – Kalex – +0.522
Celestino Vietti: “An amazing weekend. I can’t believe it because we started by struggling a bit on Friday but we worked very well, we are strong on the brakes. At the beginning, I struggled a bit with the hot temperature with the front tyre, but we managed well. Then on the last lap, I tried everything, Canet was very fast and so strong, but in the end I won. I’m happy, this is for my guys, for all the people that believe in me and come here for me, so, see you at the next race.”
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